Vicar’s Letter – November/December 2018

As the clocks change and the nights are drawing in, we can be forgiven for turning inwards on ourselves. We think of building up provisions in the freezer or store-cupboard in anticipation of winter snows, or shopping early to beat the Christmas rush. We delve into the wardrobe for a familiar warm coat to wrap up in again, or maybe go off to the splendid Bridgend Centre to find a replacement! We dig out that well-worn Christmas card list which brings to mind good times we’ve shared with old friends and acquaintances.

The Church’s own calendar of festivals marks the passing of another year. With bright-eyed children at our Light Party on All Hallows’ Eve, 31 October, we celebrate all the Saints of God, well-known or obscure, in whose lives we have glimpsed the compassion and challenge of Christ. On the evening of All Souls’ Day, 2 November, we bring to mind those closest of our friends and family whose passing we mourn, entrusting their souls once again to God’s infinite care as we light a candle in their memory. A few days later, we hear fireworks in our neighbourhood, celebrating the joyful life we can share with friends around us. Perhaps we write our own names with sparklers in the light of a bonfire, as we focus our attention on the complexities of world politics, historically and in the present day. On Armistice Day, 11 November, we will parade solemnly with those poignantly resilient poppies on our lapels, and hold respectfully before God, in the three minutes’ silence, the lives of those who died or who returned maimed in body, mind or spirit, praying that we do not squander their hard-won peace. As we continue to teach our children St Oswald’s motto urging them to be strong and of good courage and to follow paths of gentleness and peace, so let us pray for strength and resourcefulness for ourselves and our community as we look for ways to enhance the well-being of all those around us and across the wider world, who are still living in poverty or dire need as a result of violent conflict or war, human cruelty, greed or selfishness.

Our solemn mood will be lightened by joining in one of the two Christingle services now offered on Advent Sunday afternoon, 2 December, taking carefully into our hands those familiar bright orange candle-holders, studded with delicious symbols of the fruits of the earth, anticipating Christ’s light dawning into the world and blessed by the music and song of so many children and families from our local schools. During the next four weeks leading up to Christmas, we may begin to look inwards at our own lives and perhaps examine our consciences in response to new awareness of climate change (highlighted by the Transition Bollington group), challenged as we must be by our children’s persistent awkward questions about our collective choice of lifestyle. We might decide to volunteer as a Street Angel or at our Winter Night Shelter project for homeless men run by members of the churches in and around Macclesfield. Before we are tempted to close the door to keep out any more chilling thoughts about the imbalance and inequality of our world, we may yet dare to hold it ajar a little longer, by venturing into one of our local churches once in a while to sit quietly and pray (remembering that St Oswald’s is open for just that purpose during the day on most Wednesdays). We may be pleasantly surprised to come across others alongside us there, each one trying to make enough room in our busy lives, to be more ready to greet the birth of the Christ Child and to find practical ways of welcoming God’s Spirit of kindness and justice into our hearts and homes again this year.

For 110 years now, St Oswald’s Church, built to the glory of God, has stood beside the main road into and out of Bollington, as a place of witness and welcome, especially for members of the local community wishing to embark on a marriage covenant relationship, or to celebrate the birth of a new baby, or to give thanks for a life now ended that has been well-lived. We share the joy of adults and children finding faith and recognising their essential worth before God. Equally we are here to support and care for those who feel wounded and bruised by their life’s experience. We offer prayers reflecting real anguish as well as hope, and we continue to reach out in all humility with empathy, comfort, friendliness and a listening ear to young and old alike. May God prosper our visionary plans to continue to improve the welcome we can offer within our church building, and may we always be mindful to look up and keep good company with one another as we follow the star which leads us to Christ, who is the same source of love, light and truth, yesterday, today and forever.

Every blessing,
Veronica

Poppy Appeal Launch 2018

Lyric by Joe Riley:

We all know about the traumas of the war,
But do we know about the things that happened after or before;
The people who’d seen horror,
Lived hell upon the earth;
But I can see in you and me that the aftermath was not to be heard;

Poor James, Poor John,
Can you show a bit more sympathy for the people who’d be rather dead than living;
I’m shocked, appalled,
At them all for sending home,
Broken lives and empty minds;
How did their families survive;

Who knew that time,
Would pass you by so quickly;
Think we’ve seen bad things,
But have we, have we really?
That’s why we’re here,
To think of all those people,
How did they carry on, how did they carry on?

Some say that it was such a horrid time,
But we know, that they’re wrong ‘cause there are simply no words left to describe;
The kind of pain and fear that they saw,
Would scar them ‘til the day that they would lie inside their morgue, oh

Poor James, Poor John,
Can you show a bit more sympathy for the people who’d be rather dead than living;
I’m shocked, appalled,
At them all for sending home,
Broken lives and empty minds;
How did their families survive;

Who knew that time,
Would pass you by so quickly;
Think we’ve seen bad things,
But have we, have we really?
That’s why we’re here,
To think of all those people,
How did they carry on, how did they carry on?

How did they carry on?

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh

How did they carry on?

Revd Simon Marsh – A message from Bishop Peter

A statement from the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, following the Judgement of the Clergy Discipline Tribunal in the case of the Revd Simon Marsh, a former incumbent of St John the Baptist, Bollington:

Following the decision of the Tribunal fully to uphold the charges against the Revd Simon Marsh, I am greatly saddened that a member of the clergy in the Diocese of Chester should so misuse his position and abuse a vulnerable young woman.

I would pay tribute to the courage of the Complainant in supporting the formal complaint and being willing to submit herself to cross-examination during the hearing. I apologise unreservedly to her on behalf of the Church, and we will continue to offer pastoral support to her.

This is a sad and inexcusable tale of the abuse of trust and power by a priest of the Church of England. We will do all that we can to minimize the likelihood of the recurrence of such abuse.

It is now nearly 5 years since the original complaint was made to the police. This has been a very difficult time for the parish of St Michael, Bramhall, and I pay tribute to all those who have enabled the worship and wider life of the parish to continue with admirable resilience. We will now move as quickly as possible to appoint a new Vicar.

Rt Revd Peter Forster
Bishop of Chester

Read the full judgement and penalty decision on the Church of England website.

Wine and Nibbles for our 110th Anniversary

We were treated to a selection of wines from around Europe and learnt something about the saints associated with them. In this Tour we encountered St Martin (of Tours, naturally), Ste Geneviève and St Tryphon the pruner, among others.

Canapés were served and we sang verses of “For all the Saints…”

A most enjoyable evening!

Wines selected by Heather Kirk

 

St Oswald’s 110th Anniversary

St Oswald’s church was dedicated on 22 October 1908 by the then Bishop of Chester (Rt Revd Francis John Jayne). 

On Sunday 21 October 2018 Bishop Libby came to preside at our 10.30 Family Communion Service at which three of our congregation were confirmed.

More celebrations will take place on Monday 22 October 2018.

A copy of the icon created by Romanian iconographer, Angela Ludosanu, using the traditional materials, methods and rules of Eastern Christian iconography which go back to the 3rd century and earlier.

Poppy Appeal 2018 – Launch in Bollington

This year, the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal  has a particular resonance as we reach the Centenary of the Armistice to end WW1.

The Poppy Appeal in Bollington and district will be officially launched in Bollington at 10.30am on Saturday 27 November at St Oswald’s Church at Bollington Cross.

After a brief introduction by the Poppy Appeal Organiser Debra Nixon, Canon Veronica Hydon will offer a prayer and read some verses of WW1 poetry. There will be a song by Joe Riley, followed by a short period of silence for reflection. A prayer will be said by Veronica commissioning the Poppy Collection volunteers and blessing them in their task. We will then all sing a new hymn which has been specially composed for this Armistice Day.

Tea and coffee will be available after this brief ceremony.

Please come and attend this Launch to support and encourage the volunteers, but also to remind ourselves of the value of the Peace that most of those of us in this country are able to enjoy.

You can read about the men from Bollington who served in WW1 here.

 

 

Building the Peace – Macclesfield – November 2018

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In 1918 countries engaged in the First World War signed an Armistice to cease hostilities. It marked a desire for a lasting peace in Europe. 100 years later we remember the cost of war, whilst looking forward and asking how we, as a community, can build a peaceful future.

Macclesfield Team Ministry have planned a week of musical and artistic events shaped by the peace that is at the heart of our faith. We were inspired by the late David Wightman’s vision of bringing the community together to celebrate peace and hope as well as remember the very difficult events of conflict over the last 100 years.

3-11 NOVEMBER 2018
Many other churches, faiths and organisations are partnering with us and will also be running events during the week.
LOOK OUT FOR THE. NTERFA.TH PEACE CAFE AND OTHER ACTIVITIES.
For full information, go to: www.buildingthepeace.co.uk

SAT 3 NOV 7.30pm
100 Voices: A World of Difference
A community musical event led by KEMS Concert Band, collaborating with Cre8 Macclesfield Youth & Community Programme and local schools.
St Michael’s Church, Market Place, Macclesfield SKlO 1DY
£5 adults / £1 children Available at eventbrite.co.uk (100 voices) or www.buildingthepeace.co.uk or phone 01625 421984

THURS 8 NOV – SUN 11 NOV  3-9pm
Art Exhibition: Ours for the Making
An exhibition of art exploring commemoration and restoration, featuring mixed media installations and 100 peace kites, in collaboration with local schools and groups.
St Peters Church, Windmill Street, Macclesfield SK11 7HS
FREE

THURS 8 NOV 7.30pm
Reimagining Armistice
An evening with poet and author, Rachel Mann, exploring the significance of conflict and peace to us today.
St Peters Church, Windmill Street, Macclesfield SK11 1DY
FREE

SAT 10 NOV 7.30pm
KEMS Choir and Orchestra Concert
St Michael’s Church, Market Place, Macclesfield SK10 1EB
Tickets available from: www.kems.org.uk

‘Kites for Peace’ Pack
We want to send a message of peace into the skies. Kites can help us to look upwards and forwards with hope and optimism. Here’s a great opportunity for you to set up a kite-making workshop, for yourself or your group, using our simple ‘Kites for Peace’ pack. We invite you to make your own kite with a personal story and message of hope and peace. We will display your kites around our town in a declaration of peace and create a special exhibition for Armistice week.
To obtain your ‘Kites for Peace’ pack, go to:
www.buildingthepeace.co.uk/kitepack

Services
Come along to the many services of remembrance around the town – details can be found on the website.

Sunday 11 Nov  6.30pm
St Michael’s Church
Fauré’s Requiem, with reflective readings for Remembrance Day

Mon 5 Nov – Sat 10 Nov
Choices: then and now
Macclesfield Library FREE
An exhibition by local Quakers focusing on Macclesfield men and women whose conscience would not allow them to take up arms or serve in the military in WW1.

Macclesfield Winter Nightshelter (WHAM)

Volunteers Needed – Can YOU help?

Urgently need volunteers for Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and nights and Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings starting in December for about three months. Alternative training courses are at 6.30pm on Friday 2nd November and 10.00am on Saturday 3rd November at the Townley Street entrance of Macclesfield United Reformed Church.

WHAM (Winter Homeless Assistance in Macclesfield) provides accommodation and refreshment over winter weekends, for men who would otherwise be sleeping rough in our town.

“Night-shelters are to stop people dying; hostels are to prepare people for living on their own”.

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Macclesfield churches work together to:
• Provide cover over Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, providing basic meals on Friday and Sunday evenings and breakfast each day. (Saturday evening meal is available at Treehouse)
• The location moves around six or seven town centre churches, who provide shelter for a weekend at a time.
• Provide beds for six – eight adult men. Statutory support should be available for females and young people.
• We work closely with Citizens Advice, Cheshire Police, Street Angels to support guests.

While this is only an initial approach to the problem the Shelter covers the worst of the winter weather and the times when least assistance is readily available elsewhere and therefore the danger of serious illness or death is the greatest. Our ongoing objective is to “Begin the end of the homeless experience.”

We need YOU!!!

Could YOU volunteer? Teams of volunteers cover three shifts each night (7.30-10.30pm, 10.30pm-6.30am; 6.30-8am), each shift under the guidance of a trained and experienced shift leader. Training is offered for all volunteers.

What does it involve? Welcome our guests, help with meals and drinks, and above all, be company and listen to their stories. Depending on the time of your shift you may be helping to set up or clear away.

This year training for new volunteers will be held on:
Friday 5th October 2018 6.30-8.30pm
Saturday 6th October 2018 10.00-12.00pm
Saturday 12th January 2019 10.00-12.00pm all sessions at URC (Townley St entrance)

If you are an experienced volunteer and a member of a HOPE church – have you considered training to be a Shift Leader?
Shift Leader training will be for 1 hour following the above training sessions (please come to the volunteer session in addition to the Shift Leader training)

Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Deborah Bennett on 07874 852762 maccnightshelter@gmail.com or speak to Veronica

And Jesus concluded, “In your opinion, which one of these three acted like a neighbour toward the man attacked by the robbers?” The teacher of the Law answered, “The one who was kind to him.” Jesus replied, “You go, then, and do the same.” [Luke 10:36,37]